Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2013 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner

Mental Stress

  • Kristen SalomonEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_261



A form of stress that occurs because of how events in one’s external or internal environment are perceived, resulting in the psychological experience of distress and anxiety (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). Mental stress is often accompanied by physiological responses (Cacioppo, 1994). Mental stress is most often induced in the laboratory by demanding and/or noxious stimuli, involving motivation to meet a performance criterion (Blascovich, Mendes, Tomaka, Salomon, & Seery, 2003) and/or social-evaluative threat (Dickerson & Kemeny, 2004), or interpersonal interactions, particularly those involving conflict (Glass & Singer, 1972). Common mental stress tasks include preparing and giving a speech, performing arithmetic, tracing around star with only a mirror image as a guide, performing a reaction time task (Steptoe & Vögele, 1991), and discussing a disagreed upon topic with another person (Gottman & Levenson, 1992).


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References and Readings

  1. Blascovich, J., Mendes, W. B., Tomaka, J., Salomon, K., & Seery, M. (2003). The robust natures of the biopsychosocial model: A reply to Wright and Kirby. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 7, 234–243.PubMedGoogle Scholar
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  7. Steptoe, A., & Vögele, C. (1991). Methodology of mental stress testing in cardiovascular research. Circulation, 83, II-14–II-24.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of South Florida College of Arts & SciencesTampaUSA